NBC brings Madonna in new season
NBC said it plans to air a two-hour concert by global pop star Madonna this November as it struggles to climb from the basement of U.S. television ratings.
"Madonna: The Confessions Tour Live," is being taped this summer in London's Wembley Stadium, and will feature songs from the Material Girl's CD, "Confessions On a Dance Floor."
The pop singer's shows are notorious for their sexual content, and NBC said it will tape the concert and pick which songs and dances to edit from the network's broadcast.
"She is going to do her show, and we will decide which numbers are in the (TV special) and which are not, and that is whole numbers. We are not going to make piecemeal edits," Kevin Reilly, president of NBC Entertainment, told a gathering of TV critics.
NBC is mired in fourth place in viewership ratings among the four major U.S. broadcast networks, including ABC, CBS and Fox, and ratings success is critical for boosting advertising revenue. The Madonna special is expected to lure audiences who then may return to NBC to watch new shows.
The network's new programs this fall season, which begins in mid-September, include a drama that looks at the inner workings of TV called "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" from the producers of hit "The West Wing," Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme.
NBC also has a drama called "Friday Night Lights," which is based on the movie of the same name about a high school football team in a small Texas town.
Comedies include "Twenty Good Years," starring John Lithgow from "3rd Rock from the Sun," and "30 Rock," which is written and executive produced by "Saturday Night Live" comedian Tina Fey, who also stars.
Reilly acknowledged NBC's losing streak of previous seasons' new programs, but he likened the network's experience to sailing in rough seas. He said he felt confident that there was now a shift in the wind.
"I feel we are headed into the fall with a tailwind, and we are about to get this thing going again," Reilly said.
NBC is a division of the NBC Universal media wing of General Electric Co..
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